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DIA DE MUERTOS

Introduction

Dia De Muertos (Day of the Day of the Dead) is an annual tradition that promotes and maintains the cultivation of an intimate relationship with the unknown–specifically death. Celebrated from October 31st to November 2nd, Dia De Muertos invites participants to posture themself through the reflection of life and death, not in sadness but in joy. In the Journal below, our incredible content creator for both Convivial and Verdant, shares a glimpse into her thoughts on the significance Dia de Muertos holds in her life and the items she curated for her home ofrenda.

Dia de muertos convivial production kansas city ceramic studio

  

Dia de Muertos

Dia de Muertos originates from Mexico but many hispanic cultures and most of Latin America celebrate Dia de Muertos outside of Mexico. Some practices and nuances may vary depending on region, but this only promotes a more intimate and personal experience. The act of honoring the dead is not an unfamiliar practice around the world, yet Dia de Muertos does hold unique traditions that set it apart: ofrendas and the posture of celebration.

Dia de muertos convivial production kansas city ceramic studioDia de muertos convivial production kansas city ceramic studioThis holiday celebrates life and death through joy rather than mourning, through humor and even mockery of death itself. It can be interpreted as a life affirming celebration that demonstrates love and respect for the deceased. It is important to note that it is not Mexican Halloween. Rather, it's acknowledging the dead as participating members of their community who are kept alive through memory and spirit.

It is believed that Dia de Muertos bridges the gap between life and death by temporarily returning the dead to reunite with the living through celebration.

Dia de Muertos celebrations include; dancing, feasting, more recently public parades, and most importantly the act of constructing an ofrendaIn its most basic form an ofrenda is a table often with multiple tiers to display a collection of photographs, food, and personal items of departed loved ones. And in the event of lost children, toys and personal effects. 

Dia de muertos convivial production kansas city ceramic studio
Dia de muertos convivial production kansas city ceramic studio

Traditionally the top tier homes the photos and the bottom tiers are dedicated to place offerings. Some commonly seen elements are marigold flowers, papel picado, which is colorful garland made up of intricately cut fine paper, candles, incense, salt, tequila, a glass of water, and sugar skulls. You might also find an assortment of traditional Mexican food, pan de muerto, oranges, sugar cane and other specialized foods to the taste of your loved one. 

Dia de muertos convivial production kansas city ceramic studio

 

Building an Ofrenda

My father is a 2nd generation Mexican, and my mother a first generation Italian, daughter of an immigrant from Rome. Often through immigration families will leave behind tradition at the cost of assimilation, this can look like loss of language, holiday tradition, and an overall dissociation of a former culture. In my case, all of the above. I have decided to begin a journey of education and reassociating myself with my rich heritage. Dia de Muertos gives me an intimate practice to do so. I see this new tradition as an introduction to something new, and unfamiliar yet strangely feels nostalgic. 

Dia de muertos convivial production kansas city ceramic studio

This year I will be constructing an ofrenda of my own, oddly I have had the unusual circumstance to not have many deaths of family or loved ones, as my family is quite small and young. But I will be honoring my paternal grandfather, and of my maternal great grandmothers, and my spouse's childhood best friend.

Dia de muertos convivial production kansas city ceramic studio

This year I am going to go for a more minimal approach, and focus on the practice of honoring and celebrating those who my family has lost and reflect on how their lives shaped my own even if we were not intimately connected. In addition Kansas City has so much to offer, events, festivals, and parades will be a must this year. I hope to encounter this tradition as organically as possible, accepting death in celebration and reflection rather than fear or sadness, I can see how it has already begun to influence me.

Dia de muertos convivial production kansas city ceramic studio

In Marcea's ofrenda, she includes our 7oz Minimal Candle, available in a variety of scents, our Minimal Ramekin Dish to hold and burn incense, and our Minimal Salad Dish to serve pan de muerto, also called bread of the dead. 

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